16 January 1802 Birth of Julius Stahl, German constitutional lawyer, political philosopher and politician #otdimjh #onthisday


Bernstein gives a summary of this remarkable Jewish believer in Yeshua:

Stahl, Friedrich Julius, son of a banker, jurist and publicist, was born at Munich, January 16, 1802, and died at Bruckenau, Aug. 10, 1861. He became a Christian in [475] his eighteenth year, and was baptized at Erlangen in 1819. Already at the age of fourteen he discussed religious topics with his fellow scholars. The writings of Thiersch had a great influence upon him.

After he had become a Christian, he acted as a missionary to his own family and brought his parents and brothers and sisters to the Saviour. He studied law at the Universities of Wurzburg, Erlangen, and Heidelberg. In 1834 he represented the University of Erlangen in the Bavarian Parliament. In 1840 he became professor of law at the University of Berlin, where his lectures drew an audience of all classes.

His idea of Christianity was that it should pervade the whole life and also the State. According to Lord Acton, Stahl had a more predominant influence and showed more political ability than Lord Beaconsfield (Acton, Letters to Mary Gladstone, p. 103, London, 1904).


His writings are as follows, “Die Philosophie des Rechts nach Geschichtlicher Ansicht,” 2 vols. (Heidelberg, 1830-37); “Ueber die Kirchenzucht” (1845-58); “Das Monarchische Princip” (Heidelberg, 1845); “Der Christliche Staat” (ib., 1847-8); “Die Revolution und die Constitutionelle Monarchie” (1848-9); “Was ist Revolution?” (ib., 1852), of which three editions were issued; “Der Protestantismus als Politisches Princip” (ib., 1853-4); “Die Katholische Widerlegungen” (ib., 1854); “Wider Bunsen” (1856); “Die Lutherische Kirche und die Union” (1859-60). After his death were published, “Siebenzehn Parlamentarishen Reden” (1862), and “Die Gegenwärtigen Partien in Staat und Kirche” (1868).


Amos Elon takes a more nuanced approach, setting Stahl more fully in the context of his day, and adding colour and depth to our understanding of the complex personality and deep thinker.

It is indicative of the growing role of Jews in German life that the three leading political ideologues of the moment were of Jewish origin – Jacoby for the Liberals, Marx for the Socialists and Professor Friedrich Julius Stahl for the Conservatives. Born Joel Golson in 1802, the son of an observant Jewish cattle dealer in Bavaria, Stahl was the chief German ideologue of the Christian state in the post-1848 era. At seventeen, Stahl had converted to Protestantism and changed his name to Stahl (steel). Unless he had already planned his move to Prussia at this early stage, his conversion to Protestantism in deeply Catholic Bavaria may well have been undertaken out of belief.

In 1828, he moved to Berlin, where he eventually succeeded Eduard Gans (Heine’s erstwhile friend) at the Berlin faculty of jurisprudence. His public lectures at the University were social events attended by distinguished audiences, including members of the royal family.

Stahl articulated the rules and needs of the authoritarian Christian state. In his opinion, it went against the divine order to allow Jews any influence; they were entitled to full civil but not political rights – these were a nation’s dearest treasure. To enjoy them Jews had first to adopt the state religion. During the 1848 uprising in Berlin, Stahl fled the democracy-infested city; the events of 1848 were, in his eyes, pure wickedness and crime. Political decisiveness required authoritarian, not majority, rule.

In the aftermath of the ‘year of folly’, Stahle became leader of the conservatives the upper house of the new Prussian state parliament. In the largest German state, where two thirds of the Jewish population lived, he enunciated the ‘philosophical basis’ for continuing discrimination against his former coreligionists. He was not a great thinker but an able propagandist, persuasively articulating the conservative demand for ‘authority’ and the sacred union of church and throne. He preached the virtue of tradition, the infallibility of Christian doctrine, and the right of the monarch to be sole ruler. Christianity was the only antidote to revolution. The crime of the Enlightenment had been to upset the divine order of church and throne. (Amos Elon, The Pity of It All, 180)

Peter Drucker’s study of Stahl is well worth reading:

Of decisive importance to him was the religious experience which in 1819 caused the then 17 year-old Bavarian Jew,born in the ghetto, to convert to Protestantism. His whole life and his whole doctrine are founded on this step and the obligation it imposed. The religious experience opened up the path for him to the Historical School, the one determining force of his doctrine.

It forced him to take issue with the second determining force, the teaching of Hegel, and dictated the lines along which this had to proceed. It is probable that without thisfundamental religious experience Stahl would have become a Hegelian just like Lassalle or Marx, since Hegelian panlogism must have exerted a very great attraction on his mind, clear and averse to everything Romantic. This is also evident from the fact that Stahl wrestled with Hegel for many years, was for a long time unable to distance himself from this great edifice of ideas and took a great deal from it. When he finally did free himself from Hegel, he was only able to do so by drawing an entirely one-sided picture of Hegel, seeing in him no more than the Rationalist who brought the period of the Enlightenment to and end and so by no means did justice to his true greatness.

The critique of Hegel became for him a great intellectual struggle between two eternal forces: irrationalism and rationalism. He recognised that it was impossible to get the measure of rationalism with the tools of the Historical School, which had voluntarily renounced the weapons of reason and of philosophy. The resulting task, the incorporation of philosophy in religion, grounding it in faith, rendering it meaningful through faith, is the starting point of his work and from here he advances step by step to political science and politics, never losing sight of his starting point. He therefore necessarily saw every force and current as issuing from these two highest principles.

That is what gives his system its great cogency and unity. But it is also responsible for its one-sidedness; Stahl paid no attention to the problem of foreign policy nor to the social question. It was just these failings, however, which simplified his system even further and thus increased its effect, admittedly at the cost of its capacity for development.

Reflection: It seems that few Messianic Jews today make such contributions to political thought and the life of their nations as did those like Stahl and Disraeli. Yet they are held up as examples of ‘assimilation’ whereas modern Messianic Judaism sees itself as freed from this “Hebrew Christian” tendency. Father, forgive us the poverty of our imagination and our lack of charity in weighing the contributions of those who have gone before us. Help us to avoid their weaknesses and eccentricities, but help us also to avoid our own. May our contribution be similarly noted, learned from, and benefit others, until the day of your return. In Yeshua’s name we pray. Amen. 

See also 

Ruben Alvarado. Authority Not Majority: The Life and Times of Friedrich Julius Stahl. Aalten: WordBridge Publishing, 2007. ix + 134 pp. $13.99 (paper), ISBN 978-90-76660-04-2.

Friedrich Julius Stahl. Principles of Law: The Doctrine of Law and State on the Basis of the Christian World-View; Book II: Principles of Law. Ruben Alvarado, trans. and ed. Aalten: WordBridge Publishing, 2007. xxix + 140 pp. $13.99 (paper), ISBN 978-90-76660-03-5.


German jurist and publicist; born at Munich Jan. 16, 1802; died at Brückenau Aug. 10, 1861. In his eighteenth year he took the examination for the position of teacher at the Munich gymnasium, but was confronted by the usual difficulty experienced by Jewish youths seeking government positions, and he adopted Christianity Nov. 6, 1819, in Erlangen.



The Conservatives: Friedrich Julius Stahl: “What is the Revolution?” (1852)

The German Right, 1860-1920: Political Limits of the Authoritarian Imagination By James N. Retallac

About richardsh

Messianic Jewish teacher in UK
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1 Response to 16 January 1802 Birth of Julius Stahl, German constitutional lawyer, political philosopher and politician #otdimjh #onthisday

  1. Pingback: 16 January 1802 Birth of Julius Stahl, German constitutional lawyer, political philosopher and politician #otdimjh #onthisday - Mapping Messianic Jewish Theology

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